tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC January 18, 2013 2:00pm-3:00pm PST
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and how happy are they jimmy? happier than eddie money running a travel agency. get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. thanks for watching. "hardball" picks things up right now. hey, lance, tell us something we don't know. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm mike skl smerconish in tonight for chris matthews. lets start with this. lance slide. it's not like we didn't see this coming for a long time. lance armstrong's cheating and deceptions had been testified to for years but lance armstrong was no ordinary cheat, no fourth outfielder looking for a little extra power or linebacker hoping for some extra muscle. no, lance armstrong was an
international hero. a seven time-tour de france winner, the usain bolt of his short. not to mention a public face in the fight against cancer. yet in his confessional last night with oprah, he confessed only what was obvious to anyone who wanted to see it, that he doped throughout his cycling career. but armstrong did not admit to cheating, denied he was a doping ringleader, didn't admitting to bullying and seemed emotionally incapable of sympathy for the people whose lives he ruined and money he took when they tried to do nothing more than tell the truth about what he had done. joining me the daily beast's buzz bissinger and sports editor for the nation dave xi ren. bus, in august of 2012, just five months ago, you wrote a cover story for "newsweek" entitled "i still believe in lance armstrong" and yet last night his interview with oprah winfrey began with a series of yes and no questions. >> did you ever take banned substances to enhance your
cycling perform snens. >> yes. >> yes or no, was one of those banned substances epo? >> yes. >> did you ever blood dope or use blood transfusions to enhance your cycling performance? >> yes. >> did you ever use any other banned substances like testosterone, cortisone, or human growth hormone? >> yes. >> yes or no, in all seven of your tour de france victories, did you ever take banned substances or blood dope? >> yes. >> buzz, you are a pulitzer prize winner, you're a smart guy, friend of mine. how was he able to roll you so recently as a couple months ago? >> well, you know, i cringe when i see that cover and i say that honestly. i think he was able to roll me because i did not do my due diligence, and i think he aided and abetted just slightly because i spoke to him before i did the story.
this was in august. he said he was giving up the fight against ussada but he still seemed defiant. he said the odds were stacked against me. these guys were out to screw me. i was denied due process. there was never a hint, even a subtle off the record hint, that something was amiss and there really was a reason behind his want wanting to give up the fight. so i bought it. i said i still believe in lance, i still felt he was a hero despite the blood doping. i assumed he did it but because of the foundation and overcoming cancer and just 2%, 3%, 5%, he really shot my credibility. >> in retrospect, do you think he should have reined you in, that he owed it to you knowing you were going to come forth with that kind of defense to say maybe you shouldn't get out there is far? >> you know, i do. and i do, but at the end of the day i'm not going to blame him. i'm going to blame myself. but, look, he's lance armstrong. what he wanted was the cover of
"newsweek." he wanted a prominent -- someone prominent in the world of sports to come to his defense because as we all saw last night, lance is a clinical classic narcissist who really only cares about himself. so he didn't care about me. he cared about getting what he could out of me but, you know, journalists go through this all the time and i bought it, and i'm embarrassed. >> dave, you wrote that what he's trying to do now is the equivalent of riding a bike through the eye of a needle. well, we watched half of it. we'll see the res of it tonight perhaps. did he succeed? >> no, he didn't succeed at all and he didn't succeed on either front and that's the key point here is that he had to do two different things that were very different. very divergent and he failed at both. this is what he had to do. first, he had to show the united states anti-doping agency that he was contrite, that he was serious about taking their findings as the new law of the land. that their findings about him were correct. he had to show he was serious
about that, and if he did that, maybe they would lift the lifetime ban they had imposed upon him. the second thing he had to do was build public sympathy. try to remind people why they fell in love with lance armstrong in the first place. on the first front failed miserably. he actually drew a line through the heart of the report. the heart of the report said that lance armstrong was actually a doping ringleader, that he wasn't just another cyclist who used peds, but that he organized his team to actually use dope. >> he wasn't seping of that last night. >> no. he said absolutely not. and today they are not happy with that interview. on the second front about building public sympathy, i mean, my word, i felt like i was watching the titanic hit an iceberg. i felt like oprah kept trying to help him, like throwing him lifelines, like try to make yourself more sympathetic, please. all he could do is stare back with this reptilian look on his face and really have no sense of regard for anybody but himself. the only thing that came across was i'm really, really sorry i
got caught. >> let's take a look 59 something else. armstrong told oprah when he was doping he had a clear conscience. listen to this. >> was it a big deal to you? did it feel wrong? >> at the time? >> uh-huh. >> no. >> it did not even feel wrong? >> no. it's scary. >> did you feel bad about it? >> no. even scarier. >> did you feel in any way that you were cheating? >> no. the scariest. >> buzz, i took that to mean that he thought he was doing this rationalizing to the keep pace with everybody else. you know, everybody was doing this and this is the way -- the only way he could stay competitive. >> well, you know, that's what i thought as well, but i think dave makes a really good point. to me i changed my position not because of pressure from readers
although many said, buzz, you have the wool over your eyes. i changed my position when the actual report came out in october and, as dave said, the worst thing about those allegations was that he coerced teammates, that he was a ringleader, that it was the most sophisticated system they had ever seen of evading detection by drugs. that took it to a whole different level. and during the interview he denied basically all of that. and i also think what happened is ussada said the first step is you're going to have to confess. accident want to do this, and i think they were floating a trial balloon and saying let's see how it plays with the public. can we aforward to give him redemption and it played terribly with the public. >> do you want a piece of that? >> you know what he did that was really repellent that i don't think the media is remarking upon enough, but when he said, no, i did not lead a doping ring, what he was doing was accusing the people who are on his team of lying to ussada. he was accusing them of perjury,
accusing them of lying under oath. if last night was supposed to be lance armstrong comes clean, the lies are done. guess twha? he either lied or accused people who were at his mercy when they basically worked for him with his team for the tour de france, he accused then of a federal crime. >> i thought a critical part, and buzz you addressed this, he discussed one of the most watched moments, one of the most pervasive complaints of his teammates and crew, that he was a bully. listen to this. >> i was a bully in the sense that you just -- that i tried to control the narrative, and if i didn't like what somebody said and for whatever reasons in my own head, whether i viewed that as somebody being disloyal or a friend turning on you or whatever, i tried to control that and say that's a lie, they're liars. >> and then there's this. in this clip oprah confronts lance armstrong with his own lying following his final tour de france win. watch. >> this is the clip that i cannot -- i just can't reconcile
what you were thinking when you did this. play the winning clip. >> the last thing i'll say for the people that don't believe in cycling, the cynics and the skeptics, i'm sorry for you. i'm sorry you can't dream big and i'm sorry you don't believe in miracles, but this is one hell of a race. this is a great sporting event and you should stand around and believe. you should believe in these athletes and you should believe in these people, and i'm a fan of the tour de france for as long as i live and there are no secrets. this is a hard sporting event and hard work win it is. so vi ve la tour forever. >> what were you trying to accomplish there? >> i have made some mistakes in my life, that's for sure. >> heavy swallow, looked palpably uncomfortable. you thought that was the most telling moment of the interview. >> to me it was. first of all, he's not gracious at all, and once again it's
lance playing the role of the persecuted victim. i did nothing wrong, the people who have spoken out against me are cynics, skeptics. we all like to control the narrative in life. this guy is not controlling the narrative. he has a coterie of lawyers filing a suit against anyone and everything trying to destroy the lies of individuals, get a settlement against "the london times." that's not controlling the narrative. you saw the depositions where he is boldfaced under oath lying. that takes lying to a totally new dimension. to me it's criminal. >> dave, what's worse, bullying or doping? because the whole bullying subtext i thought was a big part of last night. >> oh, i think by far bullying is worse. >> how so? >> one could make a compelling case that if you want to be a competitive cyclist, that doping was a prerequisite for doing so. one could make a case that international cycling was like the wild west throughout the '90s and early 2000s and one
could even make a case if you wanted to survive the tour de france, you better cake take some of these peds. one could rationalize it if one choz to. but when you bully other people to make these unhealthy choices, when you threaten them financially, and when you do what i think is one of the ugliest parts of the american justice system, when you say i'm rich, you're not, i can sue you and destroy you, there's an ugliness to this that makes a relative of mine who is a cancer survivor say i don't like this guy anymore. >> he better hope he played better than the jury of the three of us. thank you. we appreciate it very much. coming up, lance armstrong isn't the whonl athlete who has some spaining to do. more are wondering what manti te'o knew and what he knew it about the tragic death of a give who never existed from a disease she never had. and the longer he stays silent the more people suspect he has
something to hide. up next, senator ted cruz is -- a few steps to the right are the truthers who claim the sandy hook shootings were engineered by the government to gain sympathy for gun laws. in this atmosphere, how much can the obama administration really get done on gun safety. also, as president obama prepares for a second term, which way is the democratic party headed? a pragmatic riddle of the road alternative to the gop or will it move sharply to the left? you can't be president of the united states for four more years who ut a couple episodes like this. >> we cannot sustain -- whoops. was that my -- that's all right. all of you know who i am. >> we'll have more of the lighter moments of the first term in the "sideshow." this is "hardball," the place for politics. n for legal matter? maybe you want to incorporate a business. or protect your family with a will or living trust. and you'd like the help of an attorney.
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heading into the weekend of barack obama's second inaugural, we've got some new poll numbers from our nbc news/"wall street journal" poll about what americans think of their president. 52% approve of the job that he's doing as president. that's a hair above the 51% that put him back in office in the november election. 61% say he's easy-going and likable. 55% say he can handle a crisis. 51% say he's a good commander in chief. while only 29% say that he works effectively with congress. we'll be right back. elp protecth as you age... would you take it? well, there is. [ male announcer ] it's called ocuvite. a vitamin totally dedicated to your eyes, from the eye care experts at bausch + lomb. as you age, eyes can lose vital nutrients. ocuvite helps replenish key eye nutrients. ocuvite has a unique formula not found in your multivitamin to help protect your eye health. now that's a pill worth taking. [ male announcer ] ocuvite. help protect your eye health.
welcome back to "hardball." one of president obama's first major challenges in his second term will be trying to get significant new gun control legislation through the congress, but can he do it? if the outrageous opposition coming from the right is any indication, the president has a major fight on his hands. then ra has labeled him an elitist hypocrite and calledous his daughters who receive secret
service protection. yesterday senator ted cruz accused the president of exploiting the murder of children to push through gun control legislation and then there are the real nuts out there. a movement of people who say that the sandy hook tragedy was a hoax. the real purpose was to create a political environment to take away all our guns. the american public is largely on board with at least some of the president's agenda. in a new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll, more than half, 56%, say laws covering the sale of firearms should be stricter. so what realistically can the president do? david corn is washington bureau chief for mother jones, joy reid is managing editor of the grio.com and both are msnbc political analysts. joy, how large should he be looking? >> i think the president needs to go in with a large package obviously, but when you talk to individual lawmakers, particularly on the house side, you get the sense two things have to happen. first of all, something has to pass the senate. that theoretically could be large, but the house is going to be a much tougher sled, although
i was speaking with a couple lawmakers yesterday who seemed to think parts of what the president wants could actually pass in the house. things that are pretty much noncontroversial, thing like universal background checks that even pro-gun, even pro-nra people support and there is a possibility you could get high capacity magazines through the house but whatever happens, it seems like the senate will -- >> i hope we get votes. one of the things i was offended by in the simpson/bowles process was people never knew how their member of the house or senate felt because they didn't have clean up or down votes. i think we're owed that. >> the not so bad world you're correct. we should have votes up and down on this. i think right now the people who are the obstructionists, the republicans, the gun lobby, are talking more reasonably than they will a month or two or three down the road when some of these things come up for possible votes. more important than deciding to have a big package, the only way
this will succeed is if the president can keep up the intensity level on his side, on the side of those people who want to see these things passed. we know that the gun lobby and the gun fanatics will be very intense not just tomorrow but six months from now and a year from now and to overcome that opposition, which will manifest itself when the moment comes, he's going to have to keep cops engaged, educators, neighbor groups, public educators and public safety advocates, really as engaged in this issue as the nra and that's a challenge. >> they might continue to shoot themselves in the foot, pun intended. i want to show a little bit of this. the nra released a web video that gets very personal with the president. take a look. >> are the president's kids more important than yours? then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are preber protected by armed guards at their school? >> to talk about the president's
children or any public officer's children who have not by their own choice but by requirement to have protection and to use that somehow to try to make a political point i think is reprehensible. i think it's awful to bring public figures' children into the political debate. they don't deserve to be there, and i think for any of us who are public figures, you see that kind of ad and you cringe. >> chris christie i think is on the right side thfer politically speaking for himself at home in new jersey. why aren't more republicans -- he's the only one i'm aware of who took this position. >> absolutely. chris christie once again -- first of all, he's consistent because he's yelled at people for asking about his own kids being private schooled, if you remember that youtube moment. but he's also one of the only republicans who doesn't seem beholden to the far right. i think that's part because he's doing politics in new jersey, which essentially a blue state where he wants to get re-elected governor. i think he's ensuring he will get re-elected governor but this
is one of the reasons i can't see chris christie being anywhere near being the nominee for the republican party for president. >> i think he's running for president but as the democratic nominee. >> he will never make it through the republican primary. >> viewers of msnbc, if they've watched the shows the past few days, know i have kept something for any republican in elected leadership position to say something about the craziness and excessive rhetoric on their side and colin powell, i'm sorry, he doesn't count as a republican anymore. but chris christie, i will give him credit, e finally stepped up and said at least this nra ad is bad. but what about the guys calling for civil war, impeachment, attacking the president for being a king, imperial, rand paul. it's amazing the free run they're getting from the more responsible people, if they even exist, in the republican party. >> what's amazing to me is the president in his remarks with the vice president embraced the second amendment, made reference to the creator, invoked the same of ronald reagan, and still come out of the thing as a socialist who -- >> a secret muslim socialist who
wants to take your guns. introo joo perhaps the most disturbing trend since the new town shootings has been the rise of conspiracy theorists who claim the whole thing was a hoax, part of an elaborate plan by the government to provoke enough anger to warrant rounding up your guns. websites, blogs, youtube videos have attacked the veracity of officials and official accounts of tragedy. they allege many of the people were actually 5k9ers. that the parents didn't show enough emotion and must be in the conspiracy. some claim if the shooting actually happened, there must have been more than one shooter and the government was involved somehow. one 30-minute truther video on youtube has been viewed over 10 million times, and it's not just the loons on the internet. james tracy is a tenured professor at florida atlantic university. take a look at what he wrote on his blog. while it sounds like an outrage us claim, one is left to inquire whether the sandy hook shooting ever took place, at least in the way law enforcement authorities and the nation's news media have
described. david corn, i remember growing up and going to the movies and paying because i wanted to learn whether big foot really existed. >> yes. >> and somehow now in the 21st century, you know, those sort of nutty ideas where nobody got hurt have morphed into this sort of loose change-like garr bige if you remember in the aftermath of september 11. >> i hate to say it but this was predictable. you knew the alex joness and other people in the world would use this for their own ends to sell books, to sell theories. this is one of the best arguments against ten tour i've ever heard. it's too bad we fell compelled to deburntion this. ats crazy ns that goes beyond the gun fanatic craziness. >> there's a part of the human psyche that doesn't want to believe bad things happens and the occam's raise you're applies to them. when something horrific happens people look for a bigger conspiracy. when president kennedy was shot people don't believe the narrative they were given was true. today there's a commerce in it,
and this same spon sir si that the government is going to grab your guns and use a false flag attack on american citizens to do it has migrated from the waco, from the branch da vidiens situation, to oklahoma city. to fast and furious. it's gone to the aurora shooting. each one of these becomes the newest false flag attack whereby the black helicopters are coming to get your gurns. >> it's made easy by just suching the send key. you have to run. thank you both for being here. thank you david and joy. up next, the lighter moments of president obama's first term. and you can follow me on twitter if you can smell smerconish. this is "hardball," the place for politics. we're all having such a great year in the gulf,
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into president obama's second term. embedded in all the highs and lows of the past four years have been those lighter moments that are equally tough to forget. let's take a quick look back. >> we cannot sustain -- oops. was that my -- that's all right. all of you know who i am. the guy forgot his keys. jimmied his way to get into the house. there was a report called into the police station that there might be a burglary taking place. so far so good, right? i mean, if i was trying to jigger -- well, i guess this is my house now so it probably wouldn't happen, but let's say my old house in chicago, here i'd get shot. bipartisan outreach will be so successful that even john boehner will consider becoming a democrat. after all, we have a lot in common. he is a person of color.
although not a color that appears in the natural world. leaders of the republican party, they call the passage of this bill armageddon. end of freedom as we know it. so after i sign the bill i looked around to see if there were any asteroids falling or sudden cracks opening up in the earth. turned out it was a nice day. they said we needed to triple the border patrol. well, now they're going to say we need to quadruple the border patrol or they'll want a higher fence. maybe they will need a moat. maybe they want alligators in the moat. lots of ups, lots of downs, except for my approval ratings which have just gone down. but that's politics. it doesn't bother me. besides, i happen to know that
my approval ratings are still very high in the country of my birth. he seems all-american, but if you heard his real middle name, tim hosni pawlenty, what a shame. governor romney has said that he hoped a similar version of this plan from last year would be introduced as a bill on day one of his presidency. he even called it marvelous, which is a word you don't often hear when it comes to describing a budget. it's a word you don't often hear generally. i think governor romney maybe hasn't spent enough time looking at how our military works. you mentioned the navy, for example. and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets. i particularly want to apologize to chris matthews. four years ago i gave him a
thrill up his leg. this time around i gave him a stroke. >> there's no reason to think that we shouldn't expect more of those in the next term. this is the official portrait of president obama from four years ago. here is the new one. sure, he doesn't look quite as young but clearly he on theed to go a much more cheerful route this time around. up next, as president obama prepares for a second term, which way is the democratic party headed? to the center or to the left? and this sunday join chris matthews for a special airing of his documentary "barack obama: making history." that's this sunday at 6:00 p.m. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. mine was earned in djibouti, africa, 2004.
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your cnbc market wrap. the dow gaining 53 points to finish at a five-year high today. the s&p building on yesterday's gains also at a five-year high and the nasdaq falling one point. but big mover today, morgan stanley shares rising nearly 8% after a reported better than expected earnings. and ge also beating estimates sending shares up more than 3%. ge is a minority owner of nbc universal, the parent of cnbc and msnbc. that's it from cbs, first in business worldwide. now back to "hardball." ♪ welcome back to "hardball." while much of the focus and scrutiny has been on the rereal challenges on the republican party but there's been less attention paid to questions facing democrats over the next four years. though president obama handily won re-election the democrats face a challenge ever their own. as jonathan martin and maggie
haberman pointed out today, quote, he presides over a party that has largely papered over its divisions for the past four years thanks to the president's commanding popularity. but almost as soon as the echo of obama's inaugural address fades and he becomes a lame duck, democrats are going to have to face a central and unresolved question about their political identity, will they become a center left democratic leadership council by a different name party or return to a populist left-leaning approach that mirrors their electoral coalition? to tackle that question we're joined by former san francisco mayor willie brown and jeff nichols. how did you read the 2012 outcome. did it validate a liberal agenda or was it more about the popularity of barack obama? >> it was more about the individual popularity of the one barack obama plus bill clinton. after all, it was a decisive victory, but it was a victory for the man, not necessarily the
party. >> is that how you read it, john? do you see this being an obama victory as opposed to a liberal victory are or they intertwined? >> i never want to disagree too much with one of the greater politicians in american history, but i would suggest that there was a little more party there. you won a couple u.s. senate seats that they weren't supposed to win sometimes because of republican flubs. 1.4 million more people voted for democrats for the house than voted for republicans, only gerrymandering kept the house where it is. and so i think that this man has done a lot to build a broad progressive coalition, but your core question is the important one. can you hold that coalition together? >> mayor -- >> let me say this to you though, i believe that it would have been a more telling benefit for the party if it had been nancy pelosi re-emerging as the speaker of the house and if democrat governors had won in the numbers that they needed to win in as well as legislative
bodies being dominated by democrats. i think the cult of the personality had a lot more to do with the end results this time around. in addition thereto, the defective candidacy of the republican nominee. after all, he was a legitimate burden for that party. >> the republicans were the best friend of the democrats because of 2345 whole primary process. those debates i think had a collective effect that was all to the benefit of president obama in the end. >> you had one rational guy, jon huntsman, cam out, and they all pounded on him. >> who didn't act as rationally as he is. remember the old ten for one, he was one of the hands that went into the air. >> he tried a little bit until south carolina. it wasn't just the debate. the pathologies of the debate played out through the campaign. so you had senate seats in missouri and indiana that fell to the democrats in part because of republican flubs. we have to go to that core question. what is the democratic party
now? is it a party that simply does well when the republicans do badly? is it simply an alternative to the republicans? or is there a there there? that's something that barack obama is going to have to do a lot of defining in and it will start in the inaugural speech. >> mayor, looking beyond the president, identify a face or faces within the party that you think best represent where it needs to go. for example, senator elect elizabeth warren. is that an individual who you think embodies where the democratic party needs to be moving? >> no, i do not. i think the democratic party is still pretty much the cult of the personalities that are involved. i think elizabeth warren won in the state of massachusetts simply because she was a better personality, a better candidate, anded issues in that state were issues that were totally marketable around her candidacy. on the other hand, in other states they were not equally as marketable. in the state of ohio, for an
example, it was clear that the incredible number of racial minorities who turned out did so for barack obama. they didn't do so just for the democratic party. so i still think the democratic party at the moment has to rely upon the incredible personality of the individual candidacies before they can even get to the part of where they talk about a party agenda. >> john nichols, an interesting development today. the administration has announced that its transitioning its campaign apparatus into a tax exempt group called organizing for action. that's the new name for what was once called obama for america. the goal according to politico is to play an active role in support of the president's agenda. >> the president has the most exciting campaign apparatus ever built.
it's time to turn that loose. it's time to turn that loose for something more than just an election, right? if the nra has got a list then obama for america has a bigger list. >> i'm not sure what they think of that at the dnc, that all of a sudden this entity is going to have perpetual life. >> let's be really clear about this. the dnc is always an extension of the president who is in office. what's interesting about this, and i talked to people who are engaged in this today, and it's still very much in definition. but this is where the answer to your question comes. because if ofa becomes a very effective force as regards legislation, then you begin to define the democratic party based on a legislative agenda which as the mayor points out extends from this president but, again, there's one challenge in this. that agenda may not unite the whole of the coalition as well as barack obama himself did. >> it will be interesting to watch in the next couple years. thank you mayor brown, thank you john nichols. we appreciate it very much.
up next, the curious case of star notre dame linebacker manti te'o. more people are wondering what he knew and when he knew it about the death of a woman that he called his girlfriend but who never really existed. this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ male announcer ] you are a business pro. omnipotent of opportunity. you know how to mix business... with business. and you...rent from national. because only national lets you choose any car in the aisle. and go.
you can even take a full-size or above. and still pay the mid-size price. i could get used to this. [ male announcer ] yes, you could business pro. yes, you could. go national. go like a pro. looks like america is a nation of conspiracy theorists. a new poll by fairly dickinson university in new jersey finds that nearly two-thirds of americans believe at least one
of four conspiracies theories presented to them. among the conspiracy theories, that president obama is hiding information about his background. 36% believe that one. 25%, that's 1 in 4, say the government knew about 9/11 before it happened. 19% say the 2012 presidential election was stolen. how about this? the poll found that the more people knew about current events, the less likely they are to believe conspiracy theories. that makes sense, and that's true in general. but not among republicans. where more knowledge actually leads to greater belief in conspiracy theories. we'll be right back. [ nyquil bottle ] hey tylenol, you know we're kinda like twins. [ tylenol bottle ] we are?
we're back. you may not have known the name manti te'o before this week but odds are you do tonight. te'o is the notre dame football star who led the irish to the national championship game after losing his girlfriend to cancer. now it turns out the girlfriend didn't die, didn't have cancer, and didn't even exist. the question tonight is whether te'o was the victim of a foul prank or involved in the hoax himself. in september te'o valiantly played a big game against michigan state after he thought his girlfriend died of leukemia. days earlier te'o had told reporters and teammates his girlfriend and grandmother had died within hours of one another. notre dame says te'o is the victim of a cruel hoax who found out via a phone call in september that he had been pranked. he alerted the school 20 days later. he released a statement this week saying this is incredibly embarrassing to talk about but over an e tended period of time i developed an emotional relationship with a woman i met online. we maintained what i thought to be an authentic relationship by communicating frequently online
and on the phone, and i grew to care deeply about her. to realize that i was the victim of what was apparently someone's sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating. ma linda henneberger is a "washington post" political reporter who is a notre dame alum. rob simmelkjaer is with nbc sports radio. notre dame says te'o got a call from what he thought was his late girlfriend's phone and he realized he'd been the victim of a prank. two days later he was referring to the girlfriend and their relationship in interviews as if nothing had happened. >> i really got hit with cancer, i don't like cancer at all. cancer -- i lost both my grandparents and my girlfriend to cancer. i have really tried to go to children's hospitals and see, you know, children. >> manatee, you mentioned the tragedy, you lose your girlfriend and your grandmother in the same week, right? i want to make sure i got that
correct. >> correct. same day. >> so what do you think both of those ladies would say to you being a heisman trophy finalist? >> i hope that my grandma and, you know, my girlfriend would say that they're proud. not only that i'm here, but the way that i conducted myself and just always to remain humble, be gracious, and always to acknowledge heavenly father in all things. >> rob, at a minimum, can we conclude that if he wasn't in on it, at least he had knowledge that the whole thing was a fraud and a hoax before he publicly acknowledged as such? >> yes, i think we can. i mean, he's made a statement he found out it was a hoax on one date, and then, as you just played, a couple days later he hadn't acknowledged that yet. michael, that can be consistent theoretically with him just being embarrassed by the situation and not wanting to go public with it, not wanting to acknowledge at that time that he had been fooled, that he had been hoaxed basically.
so i wouldn't draw any conclusions, but -- >> in other words, a potential is that initially he wasn't in on it, but this whole thing just snowballed out of control and at some point he made a decision to play along. >> i one could imagine a set of circumstances where a young man on the national stage for the first time might just decide it was too embarrassing to admit that he had been fooled in this way. so that is certainly a possibility. i think there's a range of possibilities here. we still don't know the facts. >> melinda, i know you're still doing some reporting. what do we know about his love life, generally? >> i think it's important to say that, mainly, what we do know is we don't have all of the facts. apparently, on campus, there was a great deal of skepticism before there, not whether the
girl existed or not but how serious the relationship was. and there was, apparently, feeling among everyone some n af his teammates, that he was getting in over his head describing this girl as the love of his life when, on campus, he was seeing other young women. >> he was? he was dating other women? >> yes. and this fall, he was dating a young woman at st. mary's college, across the street from notre dame. so there was a lot of questioning about how this love of his life fit in with his dating life on campus. >> pete thamel interviewed te'o. and looking back at his trichts, he sees now how his story seemed questionable. i couldn't find anything, though
that's not uncommon for a college-age student. nor was there anything on their supposed brother. stanford assistant athletic director couldn't find her in alumni directory. and we couldn't find any art kakals about that accident. there's a lot of questioning in the media role of all of this. in the "sports illustrated" explanation, now we know he had a deadline of two hours after he concluded that interview for what became a cover story. >> we should all be humble and not be overly quick to point the finger when we could all find ourselves in a situation like this. on the other hand, the press has been willing to accept and even be part of the notre dame game. and i think that this player and
the press maybe didn't have the usual hokum detectors fully engaged when you're thinking, wow, this is a lot like the story of the about. how amazing that this woman lay dying say please, win one for me. >> very interesting in retrospect to look back and say my god, the alarm bells should have been ringing. but, of course, in realtime, it's a much different circumstance as we all appreciate. >> i look at the notre dame officials who are crying their eyes out for this poor young man. >> i agree. when we return, let me finish with what winston churchill could teach president obama. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. s you 1% cask on all purchases, plus a 50% annual bonus. and everyone likes 50% more... [ midwestern/chicago accent ] cheddar! yeah!
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let me finish tonight with this. i really enjoyed cita stelzer's new book. she writes about how while managing the war, the british prime minister maintained an active palette, a taste for whiskey and cognac and a fine cuban cigar. but this so-called man of the 20th century was more productive at the dinner table than the conference table. as we look to the start of the president's second term on monday, it's a lesson that needs to be appreciated by modern day
washington. that we live in polarized times? that's not subject to debate. one of the causes is instablt. they don't move their families and settle here anymore. they're too busy running home to raise money, to spur a climate where cleej yalty reigns will require both sides extending themselves. this sort of socializing doesn't appear to come to them naturally, the way they it did to j.f.k. or reagan. >> most people who know me know i'm a pretty friendly guy. and i like a good party. >> now, still, when he extends himself, his overtures need to be reciprocated. last week, in a report, speaker boehner has turned down every single dinner invitation from president obama.